Home Civil Society Voices Shocking proposal to deduct 20% of migrant workers’ wages

Shocking proposal to deduct 20% of migrant workers’ wages

File photo: sulekha.com

Join us on Telegram and Instagram for the latest.

The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress is shocked at the human resources minister’s proposal to deduct or withhold 20% of migrant workers’ wages.

His justification that it will serve the objective of preventing migrants from fleeing from their employers is even more shocking!

The minister, obviously, has taken a simplistic approach to the issue. What really needs to be asked is this:

  • Why are migrant workers absconding form their employers?
  • Is it because of low wages or is it because of unjust working conditions?
  • Or are there other legitimate reasons?

What the minister ought to do is to investigate the underlying causes for migrant workers leaving their employers. Taking an easy way out can never be the answer.

It would thus be appropriate for the minister to take a holistic approach to the issues confronting migrant workers. A piecemeal approach would never serve the higher objective of understanding the issues confronting migrant workers.

These fundamental issues aside, the minister ought to have taken advice to find out if the 20% deduction is permissible in law. To the best of our knowledge, Section 24 of the Employment Act 1955 does not permit such a deduction. His suggestion to park such deductions with Socso raises the question as to whether there exist such provisions under the Social Security Act to allow this?

The minister’s citing of South Korea and Japan as points of reference leads to another question: is the minister prepared to adopt the labour standards, including wages, that such countries have put in place for not only heir workers but also migrant workers?

READ MORE:  Addicted to easy profits off the back of cheap labour

As we have suggested, we implore upon the minister to approach the issue with consideration to the whole spectrum of issues involving not only migrant workers but Malaysians as well.

K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x